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Northeastern announces dean of College of Social Sciences and Humanities

Northeastern University has appointed Dr. Georges Van Den Abbeele to be the founding dean of its College of Social Sciences and Humanities, one of three new, distinct colleges being launched by the University this fall.

As founding dean, Dr. Van Den Abbeele will have the unique opportunity to build on Northeastern’s existing strengths in the social sciences and humanities to advance a global vision for the college and lead it to achieve that vision.

“Georges Van Den Abbeele’s career incorporates outstanding accomplishments both as a scholar of languages, literature and humanities, and as a successful fundraiser and academic leader,” said Stephen W. Director, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at Northeastern. “Dr. Van Den Abbeele’s experience in overseeing several departments and leading a world-class institute of humanities studies will be invaluable as he leads our new College of Social Sciences and Humanities.”

The College of Social Sciences and Humanities will include the following academic departments: African American Studies; American Sign Language; Economics; English; History; Languages, Literatures and Cultures; Philosophy and Religion; Political Science; and Sociology and Anthropology. It will also include the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs and the Humanities Center, as well as interdisciplinary programs in Asian Studies, International Affairs, Jewish Studies, Latino/a, Latin American and Caribbean Studies, Leadership Studies, Middle East Studies, Urban Studies and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies

“Dr. Van Den Abbeele is a gifted scholar and visionary leader with a passion for advancing interdisciplinary research.” said Joseph E. Aoun, president of Northeastern University. “He is the ideal person to establish the College of Social Sciences and Humanities as a world-renowned institution dedicated to the integration of rigorous scholarship and experiential learning.”

Georges Van Den Abbeele, a scholar of romance languages and literature, comes to Northeastern University from his position as the dean of humanities at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In this role, he oversees seven departments, four research centers, and additional programs and research projects. Under his leadership, the Humanities division developed an advancement effort that generated two endowed chairs in its first year.

Prior to joining UC Santa Cruz, he spent 16 years at the University of California, Davis. While there, he helped found the NEH-funded Pacific Regional Humanities Center and directed the Davis Humanities Institute, which offers a residential fellowship program, 15 interdisciplinary research clusters, a graduate student fellowship program, and a rich collection of conferences and lectures. He was also a leader in forging collaborations among California’s state universities.

A prolific author and translator, his research interests include French and European philosophical literature, literary theory and translation, travel narrative and migration studies, media history and theory, as well as the intersection of humanities and public policy.

In 2008, he was elected to the European Academy of Sciences and received its Blaise Pascal Award for outstanding achievement in humanities and social sciences. He holds a BA from Reed College and a PhD in Romance studies with minors in comparative literature and classics from Cornell University.

Anchored by its signature co-op program, Northeastern University is world renowned for its leadership in experiential education. Northeastern is also a leader in the production of use-inspired research that meets global and societal needs.

The new College of Social Sciences and Humanities was created as part of a restructuring of the former College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Criminal Justice.

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